The New York Times has an interesting article on how WikiLeaks may shut down due to a lack of funds. The organization relies on donations to pay for its operating expenses, but several organizations have stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks after the website released classified US diplomatic cables last year. From the article:
Since the end of 2010, financial intermediaries, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union, have refused to allow donations to WikiLeaks to flow through their systems, … blocking “95 percent” of the Web site’s revenue and leaving it to operate on its cash reserves for the past 10 months. An aide said that WikiLeaks was now receiving less than $10,000 a month in donations.
A tech blogger and political science professor named Rob Domanski has a fascinating post on the implications of this case. On one hand, the Internet makes information much more free and open, and has allowed a lone site such as WikiLeaks to easily publish diplomatic cables across the world. On the other hand, a small cluster of financial institutions can still “exert their will over others.”